This section is intended to provide information about academic policies, many of which apply to opportunities and programs offered on and off-campus. Please see the Academic Opportunities section of this catalog for further information on academic opportunities for Oberlin students.
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Student Academic Record Policies
Transcript. Official transcripts for Oberlin students contain a record of all coursework completed at Oberlin College or while on an Oberlin-sponsored program. Work transferred to Oberlin or taken while on an Academic Leave is recorded on the Oberlin transcript but grades are neither recorded nor reflected in the GPA. Advanced Placement Credit is also recorded on the official transcript and counts toward hours completed at Oberlin. Transcripts are available from the Office of the Registrar upon receipt of a signed request from the student. Certain types of record holds may prevent the release of a transcript.
Enrollment. At the beginning of the semester, all students must confirm they have returned to campus by enrolling in the web-based student record system (PRESTO). Enrollment is a separate process from course registration. Students who do not enroll by the deadline will be withdrawn. In order to enroll, students must first resolve any outstanding obligations, including an unpaid bill, an overdue library book, or a required meeting with a dean.
Enrollment Status. Each semester, a student may be:
- enrolled and studying on campus;
- enrolled and studying off campus in an approved Oberlin-sponsored program or, under special circumstances, studying with an Oberlin faculty member (ENR);
- on an approved leave:
- Academic Leave of Absence (ALOA),
- Personal Leave of Absence (PLOA),
- Medical Leave of Absence (MLOA);
- finishing away (FINA); or
- withdrawn from the College.
Each of these is explained below. Specific academic policies apply to each status; please consult the appropriate sections of this catalog.
Full-Time and Part-Time Status. A student enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program must be registered for at least twelve credit hours to qualify for official full-time standing. Students in the College of Arts and Sciences who wish to register in any semester for part-time status (fewer than 12 credit hours) or overload (more than 16 credit hours) must obtain permission in advance from the Office of the Dean of Studies. Students in the Conservatory and the Double-Degree program who wish to register for part-time status (fewer than 12 credit hours) or overload (more than 17 credit hours) must obtain permission in advance from the Conservatory Dean’s Office. Full tuition is charged for all students unless permission to study on a part-time basis or to take more than the maximum number of credits allowed is obtained. The semester’s tuition is based on the number of courses for which a student is registered at the end of the add/drop period for semester courses, which is the eighth class day of the semester. For further information regarding tuition and fees, see the Expenses Section of this catalog.
Registration. Students register for courses at assigned registration times using the web-based student record system. Registration takes place in November for the spring semester and in April for the fall semester. All on-campus students are required to meet with their advisors before registering and are required to register during their scheduled registration time which is determined by the total number of completed credit hours plus the number of registered hours in progress.
New students entering in the fall semester are invited to submit a list of course choices before coming to campus. From this list, a limited number of course requests will be confirmed; new students complete the registration process on campus after meeting with their advisors just prior to the beginning of the fall semester. New students who matriculate at Oberlin in the spring semester register on campus prior to the beginning of the spring semester.
Students are eligible to receive credit only in those courses for which they officially register or add through the web-based student record system or with the Office of the Registrar. Students must review their course schedules and make changes by the end of the official add/drop period. Please see the complete academic calendar, including all important deadlines, at www.oberlin.edu/regist.
Auditing Courses. Students may audit courses in the College of Arts and Sciences and lecture courses in the Conservatory with the consent of the course instructor. Auditing is not typically permitted in applied studies courses in the Conservatory. Students are permitted to have two audits per semester recorded on their transcript. Oberlin College reserves the right to determine that a course is not suitable for auditing.
For information regarding charges for auditing courses, please see the Auditing Fee section in the Expenses section.
Class Standing. Class standing is determined by the total completed credit hours at Oberlin and transfer credit hours.
Conservatory and Double-Degree Credit Hours
Arts and Sciences Credit Hours
82 or greater
Progress towards Graduation. Students in the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music programs must maintain a sufficient course load each semester so that they earn their degree in eight semesters. Students in the double-degree program must maintain a sufficient course load each semester so that they earn their degree in ten semesters.
Graduation Rate. In 2008-2009 the completion or graduation rate for students who entered Oberlin College in 2003 on a full-time basis was 85.5 percent. In 2008-2009 the completion or graduation rate for students who entered Oberlin College in 2002 in the five-year, double-degree program was 92.5 percent.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) governs the accessibility and release of student academic records maintained by an educational institution. In accordance with this legislation, Oberlin College has established standards for the release of student directory information to third parties and of academic information to parents or guardians.
Oberlin College does not send mailings to parents or guardians regarding a student’s academic record, except in cases of suspension or dismissal. Upon receiving written permission from the student, however, the College will release grades and information regarding academic progress to parents or guardians.
Medical Forms and Insurance Certification. Prior to initial enrollment and registration, all new students, including Language Teaching Assistants, must submit to Student Health Services a Medical History/Physical Exam form, a certificate of immunization, and an insurance certification.
The academic year is divided into two 15-week semesters and a four-week Winter Term (please see the complete academic calendar at www.oberlin.edu/regist). Each semester consists of approximately 14 weeks of classes, a one-week midterm break, a three-day reading period and a five-day final examination period. No classes are held during the reading period. In addition to full semester courses, the college offers first- and second-module courses that are approximately seven weeks long.
The Honor System helps maintain a high standard of integrity in all academic work, under the basic assumption that all work submitted is the sole and original product of the individual student. The System respects the student’s ability to maintain this standard and encourages the further development of this ability.
The Honor System, which is supervised by the Student Honor Committee, applies to all work submitted for academic credit, such as examinations, quizzes, papers, and laboratory assignments. The system also applies to destruction, hiding, and improper removal or retention of library materials with the intent of denying others access.
The administration of the Honor System requires the collective and individual cooperation of the entire Oberlin College community and is fully explained in the document Student Regulations, Policies, and Procedures (www.newoberlin.edu/students/policies/honor).
Oberlin provides a Winter Term of four weeks in January to encourage and enable students to discover the value of self-education. This term affords students an opportunity to devise and pursue programs of independent study or research and to undertake, individually or with a group, on- or off-campus, other projects of educational value that the structured curriculum during the academic year cannot accommodate easily. Winter Term provides an opportunity for variations and supplements to the usual course offerings, with an emphasis on experimentation and creativity, intellectual independence, and personal responsibility. Projects may be proposed by faculty, students and occasionally by members of the administrative and professional staff and alumni. Many departments offer individual and group projects; students often devise their own projects. Students who pursue their projects on campus can take advantage of the facilities and opportunities that Oberlin offers. Many concerts, theatrical productions, films, lectures, forums, and discussion groups that enliven Winter Term are part of on-campus projects. Typical off-campus projects include (but are not limited to) career exploration, internships, and community service.
In this catalog, many departments list information about Winter Term. For students interested in a career-related or community service project, advisors and numerous resources are available to assist them in identifying opportunities. Please see the Winter Term web site at www.oberlin.edu/winterterm for detailed information for procedures and deadlines, and a listing of Winter Term Group Projects. Questions about Winter Term requirements should be directed to the Office of the Dean of Studies for students in the College of Arts and Sciences and to the Office of the Conservatory Associate Deans in the Conservatory of Music.
1. Winter Term Credits
- In order to graduate from Oberlin, students pursuing a bachelor’s degree are required to earn three full Winter Term credits.
- Transfer students must earn one credit in each Winter Term during their enrollment at Oberlin, unless this would result in more than three credits.
- Credits are earned by completing a project, either individually or as part of a group. Individual projects require a written proposal, final report and a positive assessment of the project by the sponsor. Winter Term projects are evaluated as “completed” (Y) or “not completed” (N); no letter grades are given. Winter Term project titles and credit earned are recorded on student transcripts.
- Winter Term projects are rated as half or full. Students may participate in one half, two halves, or one full project each Winter Term.
- The time commitment for a half project is three hours per weekday; the commitment for a full project is five to six hours per weekday.
- The required three Winter Term credits may be earned on or off campus, in any combination.
- Students who plan to take a leave of absence for study abroad for an entire academic year should plan to complete Winter Term projects during each of the three years in residence, since they may not register for Winter Term while on leave for the entire year. Students on leave for one semester may register for Winter Term if they are enrolled at Oberlin for the other semester of the year and if their courses of study elsewhere do not overlap with Winter Term.
- Winter Term credits are not the same as semester credit hours, i.e., the Winter Term credits are not included in the required 112 Arts and Sciences or 124 Conservatory semester hours.
- A student registered for Winter Term credit may not be paid for work associated with his or her project.
2. Winter Term Project Categories
Students who matriculated beginning Fall 2001 and prior to Fall 2007 may propose Winter Term projects from one of three categories below. All three Winter Term credits may be earned from categories one and two. Student and sponsor together must determine the most appropriate category for a proposed project. The categories are:
- Academic Study: a faculty-sponsored, academically-focused research, study, or performance project that can be conducted on- or off-campus, individually or as part of a group project.
- Field Experience: a learning activity that could include career exploration, social or political action, community service, or an unpaid internship.
- Personal Growth and Development: an opportunity to learn a skill, try something new, or pursue subject matter outside of traditional academic disciplines. Only one full project (or two half projects) may be earned from category three.
Students matriculating Fall 2007 and later do not have to specify a category for their Winter Term project. These students are expected to complete Winter Term projects that are academically relevant, rigorous, experiential, and educationally rewarding. Viable projects are those that involve academic study and/or experiential learning, including internships and community service.
3. Winter Term Sponsor
Every project must have an on-campus sponsor. Faculty members and, under some circumstances, members of the Administrative and Professional Staff, may serve as project sponsors. Finding a suitable sponsor is largely a matter of matching student and faculty or staff member interests. The sponsor will help the student design a Winter Term project that is academically relevant, rigorous, experiential, and educationally rewarding.
4. Winter Term Fees
There are no additional tuition or room fees for Winter Term. Students may purchase (or use their Oberlin College identification cards to charge) individual meals at Stevenson during Winter Term. Students may also use flex dollars that remain in their accounts from the fall semester to purchase meals at Stevenson during Winter Term. Some projects, especially those directed by an invited specialist, require a fee from each participant to help defray expenses.
Winter Term Planning and Advising. Students should discuss their Winter Term plans with their academic advisors and potential project sponsors in October. Early planning is especially important for students who choose an internship or other individual project.
For students matriculating fall 2004 and later, the following grading policy is in effect. For students who matriculated prior to Fall Semester 2004, another grading policy is in effect. Please see an explanation of grading policies at www.oberlin.edu/regist.
Two grading options are offered: letter grades or Pass/No Pass (P/NP). Each semester undergraduate students may choose to have some or all of their courses evaluated P/NP. To exercise this option, students must file a form, signed by the advisor, in the Office of the Registrar by the last day of the eighth week of classes or the last day of the fourth week of classes for a module course. Once the deadline has passed, no change in the grading option may be made. This means that students must elect the P/NP grading option by the deadline. Similarly, P/NP grading will not be reversed to letter grading after the deadline. If no option card is submitted, letter grades will be recorded. In addition to a student opting to take a course P/NP, an instructor may declare an entire course graded on the P/NP basis. In this case, the course will be listed as such in the catalog and the student has no option as to which grade option will be used.
Letter Grades. The grades recorded and their equivalents in quality points (used in computing grade-point averages) are as follows:
To obtain the quality points earned in a course, the numerical equivalent of the grade is multiplied by the number of hours for which the course was taken. The grade-point average is computed by dividing the total quality points by the total number of hours for which letter grades are recorded.
Pass/No Pass. All passing work (A+ to C minus) is given the uniform grade of Pass (P). Work below C minus is considered not passing, and is given a grade of No Pass (NP). The grades of P and NP do not enter into the GPA calculation. Departments will have the option of deciding how to handle P/NP grades with respect to credit in the major. Please consult the major requirements in this catalog for specific information regarding P/NP grades.
Repeating Courses with a D or F grade. A student may repeat once a course for which a grade of D, F or NP is received. Only one course (with a grade of D or better) counts as credit toward the total number of credits required for graduation. Please see the grading policies above for an explanation of how letter or P/NP grades are counted in the calculation of the GPA.
Withdrawal Grades. A student may withdraw from a class between the end of the Add/Drop period and the last day of the eighth week of classes (last day of the fourth week of classes for modules). If a student withdraws from a class, the notation W (Withdrawn; no indication of passing or failing) will be entered on the student’s transcript. After the end of the eighth week of classes (fourth week for a module course), a letter grade or P/NP will be awarded. The number of registered hours is not reduced by withdrawing from a course. Thus, students must remain within the maximum hours allowed (16 for the Bachelor of Arts, 17 for the Bachelor of Music and double-degree programs) if there is consideration of withdrawing from one course and adding another during the semester.
Minimum GPA Required for Graduation. In order to graduate, a student must have a GPA of at least 1.67. P and NP grades do not enter into the GPA calculation.
Written Evaluation. Upon request, a student may receive a written evaluation of his or her work taken under the P/NP option. Students desiring such an evaluation should obtain the necessary forms from the Office of the Registrar and give them to the course instructor at the end of the semester or course. At the student’s request, such written evaluations may be sent, along with transcripts, to a graduate or professional school and/or a prospective employer.
Asterisk Grades. An asterisk grade is used at the end of the first semester to indicate that the work of a course covers two semesters and that no grade can be recorded yet. When the final grade is given at the end of the second semester the asterisk is removed and the grade earned is recorded for both semesters.
Grading Limitation in Conservatory Courses. Conservatory majors must register for the following courses for letter grade only: Introduction to Music Theory, Music Theory I-IV, Introduction to Aural Skills, Aural Skills I-IV, Introduction to the History and Literature of Music, and any class taken to satisfy a requirement in secondary applied study.
- All faculty-taught private applied study (including composition) is offered for letter grades only.
- Voice lessons with supervised student teachers are offered for Pass/No Pass grading only. All other secondary private study with supervised student teachers may be taken for letter grades or Pass/No Pass.
- Small ensembles are offered for Pass/No Pass only at the discretion of the individual coach.
- Oberlin Orchestra, Oberlin Chamber Orchestra, Oberlin Wind Ensemble, and Contemporary Music Ensemble are offered for letter grades only.
Incomplete Grades. An incomplete grade is a temporary grade, assigned at the end of a semester, to permit students additional time to complete work in a course. Policies regarding incompletes are governed by the division of the course.
There are two kinds of incompletes: educational and emergency. All requests for incompletes and extensions of incompletes in Arts and Sciences courses must be addressed to the Office of the Dean of Studies. Requests for incompletes in Conservatory courses must be addressed to the Office of the Conservatory Associate Deans.
During their career at Oberlin, students may have a maximum of two educational Incompletes in Arts and Sciences courses–authorized by the course instructor–or educational reasons. Educational Incompletes are not available in Conservatory courses. Educational Incomplete Forms are available in the Office of the Dean of Studies three weeks before the end of the semester. These forms must be completed, signed by the course instructor, and returned to the Office of the Dean of Studies before the time of the scheduled final exam for the course. The incomplete work is due by the end of the first week of Winter Term for fall semester courses, and by three weeks after the end of the semester for spring semester courses. Additional educational incompletes may be authorized by the Dean of Studies only under very exceptional circumstances and only in Arts and Sciences Courses. Please note that a course instructor may deny a request for an educational incomplete.
Emergency Incompletes may be authorized by the Office of the Dean of Studies (for Arts and Sciences courses) or the Office of the Conservatory Associate Deans (for Conservatory courses) for reasons that arise from circumstances beyond the student’s control. These incompletes are usually for medical, psychological, or life-crisis reasons and must be requested before the scheduled final exam. Incompletes for medical reasons require a letter from a health care professional or a form completed by the Office of Student Health Services. No incomplete grades will be given in private study or ensemble participation in the Conservatory. The due date for incomplete work is set according to how much time was lost during the semester, up to three weeks after the end of the semester.
The due date for coursework under either kind of Incomplete may be extended only for emergency reasons. If the coursework is not completed within the specified time, a grade will be recorded based on the extent to which the course requirements have been met.
Grade Reports. Semester grade reports are available to students via the online student record system (PRESTO). Consistent with federal law, Oberlin College does not send student grade reports unless the student submits a written request. If a student chooses to authorize release of grades to his or her parents, either the student or the parents must request a copy of the grades each semester from the Office of the Registrar.
The final examination schedule is determined by the Office of the Registrar and is posted on the registrar’s website in the summer before the fall semester and by late November for the spring semester. To view the entire final examination schedule and policy, see www.oberlin.edu/regist.
Final Examinations: An individual student may not take a final examination at other than the scheduled time (not even at the time allocated to other sections of the same course) without special permission from the Dean of Studies (for courses in the College of Arts and Sciences) or the Conservatory Associate Dean (for courses in the Conservatory).
Final projects: With the exception of certain musical performance examinations, auditions, and other Conservatory assessments, classes will not be held nor final examinations given during the reading period. Final projects are due during the evaluation period at the final examination time as scheduled by the Office of the Registrar. Any in-class component must be scheduled at the final examination time and is limited to two hours.
For Students in the College of Arts & Sciences
Students are expected to progress toward graduation at a more or less constant rate. Given the graduation requirement of 112 hours, students with no advanced placement or transfer credit should complete an average 14 hours per semester over eight semesters. The required course load each semester is at least twelve credit hours; students who wish to register in any semester for fewer than 12 or more than 16 semester hours must obtain permission in advance from the Office of the Dean of Studies.
There is a minimum level of acceptable accomplishment each semester:
- All students must earn at least 12 credit hours.
- Students who at the beginning of a semester need fewer than 12 hours to graduate are required to complete only the hours necessary for graduation.
- Students must also maintain a minimum GPA of 1.67 in addition to the required minimum credit hours.
The Arts and Sciences Academic Standing Committee reviews the records of Arts and Sciences students whose achievement in a given semester falls below the appropriate established minimum. (The records of students who withdraw after the end of the tenth week of classes are subject to review by the Committee.) The decision of the Academic Standing Committee regarding a student’s academic standing is final.
Warning. A student may receive an academic warning if he or she has had no previous sanction, maintains the minimum cumulative GPA, but falls below the minimum required credits hours in a given semester by one credit hour. A student may receive a warning only one time.
Probation. Students who do not achieve the required minimum number of hours in a given semester will usually be placed on academic probation (see “Suspension”). Such students will be removed from probation upon meeting the required minimum during the next semester; otherwise, they may be suspended.
Suspension. A student who does not achieve the minimum required hours in any semester and who has previously been on probation may be suspended for one or two semesters. For relatively small deficiencies, the student may be continued on probation. Students passing fewer than half the minimum required hours may be suspended for one or two semesters, regardless of whether they have previously been on probation. A suspended student must apply for reinstatement through the Office of the Registrar. The student must also write to the Dean of Studies explaining what he or she has done during the absence and how the student is now better prepared to succeed academically. Letters supporting the request to return are required from the student’s academic advisor and someone the student has worked with during the suspension.
Dismissal. If a student has been sent a letter of suspension by the Academic Standing Committee, and if thereafter the student does not achieve the required minimum in any semester, the Academic Standing Committee may dismiss the student from Oberlin College.
For detailed information about Arts and Sciences academic standing, please see http://www.oberlin.edu/dstudies/standing.
For Double-Degree Students
The academic standing of double-degree students is determined jointly by the College of Arts and Sciences and Conservatory of Music Academic Standing Committees. Double-degree students are expected to register in courses in both divisions and progress toward completion of all majors.
For Students in the Conservatory
The Conservatory of Music Academic Standing Committee, chaired by the Conservatory’s Associate Dean for Student Academic Affairs, reviews the academic progress of Conservatory students, including double-degree students, at the end of every semester.
Conservatory students are expected to enroll fulltime in the Conservatory each semester, to pass a minimum number of course credit hours, and to progress toward completion of one or more Conservatory majors at a rate consistent with the recommended distribution of requirements for each major.
Students who pass the required minimum number of credit hours and who are progressing satisfactorily toward completion of a major are considered in good academic standing:
- Students in their first year of enrollment at Oberlin and who entered with fewer than 14 hours of transfer credit must earn 10 hours of credit each semester. Students transferring to Oberlin with 14 or more hours of transfer credit will be required to complete 12 hours each semester.
- After the first year, students must earn a minimum of 12 hours every semester.
- Students who need fewer than 12 hours to graduate are required to complete only the hours required for graduation.
- Students must also maintain a minimum GPA of 1.67 in addition to completing the required minimum credit hours.
The following courses of action are available to the Committee when a student fails to achieve good academic standing:
Academic Warning. An academic warning will be given to students who receive C+, C, or C- in their principal private or composition study, or who receive a majority of unsatisfactory grades on the First Major Committee Examination.
Academic Probation. A student who fails to pass the minimum number of credit hours will normally be placed on academic probation. A student will be removed from probation if s/he earns the minimum number of credit hours in the subsequent semester.
Denial of Continuation in a Major. A student who earns a grade lower than C minus in principal applied or composition study in any semester, or receives a C plus, C, or C minus in two consecutive semesters will require permission of that department to continue in the major. A student will not be permitted to continue in the major if s/he earns a grade below C minus for two consecutive semesters in principal applied or composition study, or receives a majority of unsatisfactory grades in the Second Major Private Study Committee Examination.
Suspension. A student who fails to pass the minimum number of credit hours and who was on academic probation in any previous semester is normally suspended for two semesters; in cases of extenuating circumstances, the Committee may elect to place the student on academic probation a second time. A student who has been suspended by the Academic Standing Committee may appeal this decision in writing to the Dean of the Conservatory.
Conservatory English Language Proficiency (ESL) Requirement
All Conservatory students whose first language is not English are required to submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) prior to matriculation. Conservatory students must submit a minimum TOEFL score of 80 on the internet-based test (213 on the computer-based test) to be admitted to the Bachelor of Music degree program. Students accepted to the Conservatory without the minimum TOEFL score of 80 on the internet-based test (213 on computer-based test) are admitted to the two-year Performance Diploma program and are eligible only for a two-year I-20 Form from Oberlin.
All entering international undergraduate students for whom English is a second language are required to take Oberlin’s ESL placement test, regardless of their TOEFL scores.
Performance Diploma students may request transfer to the Bachelor of Music degree program upon the successful completion of the following requirements:
- LRNS 112 (ESL III) and
- Minimum TOEFL score of 80 on internet-based tests (or 213 on computer-based tests)
To be eligible to transfer to the Bachelor of Music program, students must fulfill both requirements before May 15 of their second year in residence. Performance Diploma students who have not satisfied the requirements listed above by the end of the third semester in residence will be required to meet with the Conservatory Associate Dean for Student Academic Affairs and the major advisor to plan the completion of the performance diploma program. Performance Diploma students who have successfully completed LRNS 111 (ESL level II) may be permitted to enroll in selected conservatory courses (e.g., theory, aural skills, etc).
Within the limits stated below, Oberlin College permits credit earned at other fully accredited colleges and universities to be applied to the requirements for Oberlin bachelors degrees provided that the following two criteria are satisfied:
- The student has earned a minimum grade of C minus or better.
- The coursework falls within the scope of a liberal arts curriculum, for students pursuing the BA, or a conservatory curriculum, for students pursuing the BMus.
Transfer credit awarded under the following regulations is recorded on the student record; grades earned at other institutions are not calculated in the Oberlin GPA.
A fee applies to the transfer of credit: see Expenses section of this catalog.
Credit accepted for transfer to Oberlin does not automatically apply toward the major. Application of credits earned elsewhere toward the completion of major requirements at Oberlin is granted only with departmental, program, divisional (in the Conservatory) or Individual Major Committee approval. Students who wish to apply a substantial amount of credit earned elsewhere toward their major should consult with the appropriate department or program. In cases where the eligibility of a particular course is unclear, the appropriate chair or division director or other designated faculty member will make the final decision regarding transfer credit. Students may obtain forms from the Office of the Registrar to gather department chair signatures for work to be applied toward major requirements.
The Office of the Registrar administers the transfer of credit policy. Questions regarding transfer of credit policy, regulations, and procedures should be directed to that office. In the case of questions regarding policy or regulations, the final decision will be made after consultation with the appropriate dean’s office.
Work from a college or university where instruction is on a quarter or trimester system will transfer as follows: one hour credit on a quarter system is the equivalent of 2/3 of an hour credit as transferred to Oberlin’s semester system. For example, three hours of credit from a quarter-based system represents two semester hours when transferred.
The transfer credit granted will not normally exceed the amount of credit a student would receive for comparable work at Oberlin.
Credit for education courses taken at other institutions may be transferred only after approval by an appropriate department chairperson or the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences or Dean of the Conservatory if there is no appropriate department. A student requesting a transfer of such credit must supply documentation demonstrating that the course had substantial liberal arts content.
Transfer of Credit for Music Courses
For students in Arts and Sciences, transfer of music credit as an elective is approved by the Office of the Registrar. Coursework toward fulfilling major requirements for students in the College of Arts and Sciences (such as the Musical Studies major) is approved by the appropriate Conservatory division director and the Conservatory Associate Dean.
All Conservatory majors and College of Arts and Sciences music majors must begin coursework in music theory, aural skills, and music history at the introductory level unless they demonstrate proficiency beyond that level by passing placement examinations. Placement examinations are administered at the point of admission for Conservatory students and during the summer for any interested College of Arts and Sciences student. Once the student has begun work in these divisions at Oberlin, credit will not be given for coursework taken elsewhere (e.g. during the summer or a semester away) without prior written, approval by the appropriate division director and the Conservatory Associate Dean.
A student may not transfer coursework required for his/her major (e.g., secondary piano, language diction for singers, or music education coursework) without the written approval of the director (or faculty designate) in whose division the course resides at Oberlin.
Students who wish to pursue language study at another institution to fulfill a Conservatory requirement should seek approval from the appropriate divisional faculty member.
A student wishing to transfer private-lesson credit toward his/her major requirements must perform an audition for the appropriate department. The audition should take place no later than the fourth week of enrollment. In the case of new transfer students, the department will assign each student an appropriate level relative to the typical eight semesters of principal applied study at Oberlin.
When determining credit for private lessons or ensemble work, the divisional faculty in the Conservatory evaluates the work in comparison with Oberlin’s expectations in terms of repertoire, progress, and instructional time.
Oberlin students who wish to take private lessons during the summer or while on leave from the campus must secure the approval of their private study teacher prior to commencing lessons; approval forms are available from the Office of the Associate Deans in the Conservatory. To apply for credit for private studio instruction or summer programs for which no official transcript is available, the approval form must be completed and signed by the teacher; a letter from the teacher may be presented in place of the form. This form or letter must include the number of lessons, their length, and the repertoire covered. The form and accompanying materials is submitted to the Registrar.
All ensemble requirements must be fulfilled at Oberlin. Transferred ensemble credit counts only as elective work. To receive credit for ensemble work done in summer programs for which there is no official transcript, students must provide a letter or other documentation from the program that describes the duration of the session, the number and length of rehearsals, the repertoire studied and performed, and, in the case of chamber music ensembles, the amount of coached and un-coached rehearsal time. Forms for transferring ensemble credit are available in the Conservatory Associate Dean. Students must present this form, along with the documentation, to the appropriate division director. Normally, only one credit is granted per ensemble for summer work. No transfer credit is granted for work done in a professional group for which the student has been reimbursed.
For New Students Entering Oberlin College
The following is a summary of important points about transfer of credit for new students in Arts and Sciences and the Conservatory. See below for other policies that apply.
- Oberlin will grant no more than 30 semester hours of credit work (including Advanced Placement credit and credit for work done in the “thirteenth-year” programs such as the International Baccalaureate and French Baccalaureate programs) done before a student has matriculated in a college program.
- Students who choose to defer matriculation at Oberlin for one or two semesters may earn no more than six semester hours of credit per semester of deferral. The six semester hours of credit allowed for deferred semesters will be counted as part of the 30-hour limit.
- Students who matriculate at Oberlin with more than 30 semester hours of prior credit will be considered to be transfer students.
- No credit in private applied composition study is granted for work completed before the student has matriculated at Oberlin College or another college. Eligibility for exemption from a required secondary private applied study will be established by audition when secondary auditions are held during the first week of classes each semester.
- Credit toward an Oberlin College degree for classroom music study completed prior to matriculation at Oberlin College is usually granted only under the Advanced Placement program, administered by the College Board. For students matriculating at Oberlin College in August 1993 or later, Oberlin College will grant credit for non-performance music courses taken while enrolled in high school, for which credit appears on the transcript of an accredited college or university. Transfer credit for acceptable music history or music theory courses will count toward the major only upon successful completion of the Oberlin Conservatory music history or music theory placement tests, as appropriate. The number of transfer credits awarded will not be greater than the actual number of credits completed at the other institution. If the required scores on these placement tests are not achieved, transfer credits will count only as electives. Other non-performance courses may also be counted as elective credit, on approval of the appropriate Conservatory department and the Associate Dean.
- A Conservatory or Arts and Sciences student is granted credit for Advanced Placement Examinations in Music Theory on the following basis:
- the student scored a four or five on the examination
- the credit granted is three hours
- the credit is entered on the transcript as “AP-Music Theory”
- the credit may be counted only as free elective credit toward requirements for majors leading toward Conservatory degrees
- Eligibility for advanced standing in a music course may also be established when a student enters Oberlin. While no credit toward an Oberlin degree is granted, a student may, by this means, be eligible to enter an advanced course, or may have a requirement waived.
For Transfer Students Entering Oberlin College
The following is a summary of important points about transfer of credit for transfer students. See below for other policies that apply.
- College of Arts and Sciences students may transfer a total of 56 semester hours of credit toward the BA; Conservatory students may transfer a total of 62 hours toward the BMus. All of these hours may have been taken prior to matriculation.
- Double-degree students may transfer a total of 76 semester hours of credit toward the BA/BMus degrees.
- Double-degree students: Because of the requirements of two degree programs, double-degree students should consult with their respective advisors regarding how transfer work will be applied to the Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Arts degrees.
For Currently Enrolled Oberlin Students Planning an Academic Leave to Study Away
Currently enrolled students have the option of an academic leave of absence taken during a fall or spring semester (or both) or summer study. The following is a summary of important points about transfer of credit. See below for other policies that apply.
- Students who wish to do academic work as a full-time student away from Oberlin during the academic year must successfully apply for an academic leave of absence and must have completed at least two semesters in residence at Oberlin. Students must obtain approval in advance for the program of study from the Office of the Dean of Studies. See the Off-Campus Study information in this catalog under Academic Opportunities.
- The approval procedure will require the student to obtain departmental approval for individual courses and the amount of credit to be transferred.
- Following an academic leave, the student is required to fill out a program evaluation form before credit is transferred. The form will be reviewed by the Office of the Dean of Studies to assess the quality of the program. The Dean’s Office or academic departments may intervene at any time to question the suitability of a particular program. This evaluation of the program will be used by departments and the Dean’s Office in making decisions about the approval of the proposed transfer credit.
Exclusions to Transfer of Credit
Oberlin College does not grant credit for:
- courses in which a grade lower than C minus is earned;
- coursework that falls outside the scope of a liberal arts curriculum, for students pursuing the BA, or a conservatory curriculum, for students pursuing the BMus.
- courses that duplicate coursework taken at Oberlin;
- courses taken at other institutions while the student is currently enrolled at Oberlin;
- courses taken concurrently with, or in place of, an Oberlin Winter Term;
- credits earned at other institutions by students while they are withdrawn from Oberlin;
- mathematics courses below the calculus level; also, no more than four credits may be transferred in for calculus below the level of Calculus II (Mathematics 134);
- one-half Quantitative Proficiency (that is, transfer of credit for one or more courses equivalent to Oberlin courses designated “Quantitative Proficiency Certification - Half” will not satisfy all or part of the Oberlin Quantitative Proficiency requirement under any circumstances);
- coursework at a lower level than a course already taken by the student at Oberlin (e.g., Chemistry 101 after passing Chemistry 102)
- courses that also satisfy a student’s graduate school graduation requirements;
- courses taken at the National Outdoor Leadership School;
- correspondence courses;
- courses taken in secondary schools, in the case of students who have been admitted to Oberlin prior to fall 1993, even if taught by college or university professors or for college courses which also satisfy secondary school graduation requirements.
- Normally, the college does not grant credit for extension courses and continuing education courses. Only extension courses or continuing education courses that are (1) on standard liberal arts subjects and (2) accepted for credit by the sponsoring institution for its own standard bachelor’s degree and recorded on the sponsoring institution’s official transcript may be granted credit, subject to all other transfer of credit regulations.
See below for specific limits for online courses. Students wishing to transfer credit for any extension or continuing education course which meets the above guidelines must seek approval in advance of registering for the course.
Numerical Limits Applying To Transfer of Credit
- College of Arts and Sciences students may transfer a total of 56 semester hours of credit toward the BA; Conservatory students may transfer a total of 62 hours toward the BMus.
- Double-degree students may transfer no more that 76 hours of credit for the BA/BMus degrees. A maximum of 45 credits may be transferred by double-degree students to Oberlin College following matriculation with up to 24 hours of transfer credit in the Conservatory and 21 hours in the College of Arts and Sciences. .
- No more than 36 semester hours of transfer credit for work done after a student has matriculated at Oberlin may be applied toward an Oberlin College degree.
- For Arts and Sciences students, no more than 16 semester hours for each semester (10 semester hours for each quarter or trimester), 32 semester hours for each academic year. For Conservatory and double-degree students, no more than 17 semester hours for each semester or 34 semester hours for each academic year.
- For Arts and Sciences students, no more than 16 hours per summer for a semester session or 10 hours for a quarter session; for Conservatory and double-degree students, no more than 17 hours (10 semester hours for each quarter or trimester)
- No more than 6 credit hours for a student on a Personal Leave of Absence (PLOA) for a semester session and no more than 4 hours for a quarter session.
Time Limits for Transfer of Credit
Students have one calendar year from the completion of coursework or a qualifying event (e.g., receipt of scores from an Advanced Placement exam or an International Baccalaureate) in which to request the credits be transferred. Graduating students must file a completed request for transfer of credit by the end of the add/drop period in the fall if graduating in May and by the end of the add/drop period in the spring if graduating in December. Allowances will be made for students on leave in the event that the deadline occurs during a leave.
Students must obtain the approval of the Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences prior to registering for an online course. The following regulations apply to online courses:
- Oberlin College will accept credits transferred from accredited institutions only.
- An online course proposed for transfer must be on a standard liberal arts subject.
- The course must be accepted for credit by the sponsoring institution for its own standard bachelor’s degree, and must be recorded on the sponsoring institution’s official transcript.
- The maximum number of credits from online courses that can be transferred during a student’s college career, including credits earned before matriculation, is seven.
- All other existing rules governing transfer of credit apply to online courses, including disallowing concurrent enrollment at other institutions.
Transfer of Credit for Work Taken at a Foreign Institution
Transfer of credit for work done in foreign countries either on programs sponsored by accredited American colleges and universities or at foreign degree-granting colleges and universities is subject to the following regulations:
- Work taken at a foreign institution must be approval in advance and after completion; the appropriate chairperson of the equivalent Oberlin department will review and approve the planned courses.
- A new or transfer student must obtain departmental approval for credit taken at a foreign institution to be transferred on a course-by-course basis.
- Normally, full credit will be transferred (within the limits of work awarded at Oberlin) if the work earns a grade of C minus or better, and falls within the scope of a liberal arts curriculum.
Transfer of Credit from Non-Degree-Granting Foreign and Domestic Institutes
Transfer of credit for work done at foreign and domestic institutes (non-degree-granting institutions) is subject to the above criteria for Transfer of Credit for work taken at a foreign institution, in addition to the following additional regulations:
- Credit for work done at approved institutes may be transferred with departmental approval, if the work earns a grade of C minus or better, and falls within the scope of a liberal arts curriculum, and if the student provides written documentation (e.g., a transcript, a certificate, or a letter) from an on-site representative of the institute certifying participation in class work. This written documentation may be supplemented by, but not replaced by, a transcript from a college or university which acts as an agent for the institute.
- Academic departments will determine the amount of credit to be awarded on a case-by-case basis. Departments may administer examinations to determine the appropriate amount of credit to be awarded. Credit is not granted, however, on the basis of an examination alone, that is, in lieu of formal coursework.
- Departments may limit the amount of transfer credit which may be applied toward the major as well as the total number of hours which may be transferred in that area of study.
Advanced Credit for Conservatory Courses
General. Credit for study completed prior to matriculation at Oberlin College or at another college may be granted under the following guidelines:
Private Applied and Composition Study. No credit in private applied composition study is granted for work completed before the student has matriculated at Oberlin College or another college. Eligibility for exemption from a required secondary private applied study will be established by audition when secondary auditions are held during the first week of classes each semester.
Music Classroom Study. Credit toward an Oberlin College degree for classroom music study completed prior to matriculation at Oberlin College is usually granted only under the Advanced Placement program, administered by the College Board. Oberlin College will grant credit for non-performance music courses taken while enrolled in high school for which credit appears on the transcript of an accredited college or university. Transfer credit for acceptable music history or music theory courses will count toward the major only upon successful completion of the Oberlin Conservatory music history or music theory placement tests, as appropriate. The number of transfer credits awarded will not be greater than the actual number of credits completed at the other institution.
If the required scores on these placement tests are not achieved, transfer credits will count only as electives. Other non-performance courses may also be counted as elective credit, on approval of the appropriate Conservatory department and the Associate Dean. A Conservatory or Arts and Sciences student is granted credit for Advanced Placement Examinations in Music Theory on the following basis:
- the student scored a four or five on the examination
- the credit granted is three hours
- the credit is entered on the transcript as “AP-Music Theory”
- the credit may be counted only as free elective credit toward requirements for majors leading toward Conservatory degrees
Eligibility for advanced standing in a music course may also be established when a student enters Oberlin. While no credit toward an Oberlin degree is granted, a student may, by this means, be eligible to enter an advanced course, or may have a requirement waived.
Leaves and Withdrawals
Academic Leave of Absence
Students participating in off-campus study options not conducted by Oberlin College itself are classified as being on an academic leave of absence. A study-away fee is charged for certain programs; please see the Expenses section in this catalog. Student applications for leaves are processed by the Associate Dean of Studies and granted by the Off-Campus Study Committee prior to a student’s departure from Oberlin. Information about applying for academic leave of absence is at www.oberlin.edu/studyaway. Academic leaves are approved when students can demonstrate the value of such leaves for their Oberlin education and meet the following criteria:
- A student must have completed at least two semesters at Oberlin.
- A student must have declared a major.
- A student must be in good academic standing.
- A student must carry a minimum of 12 semester hours when on an academic leave of absence.
- A student who is considering an academic leave of absence must take into account both the specific transfer of credit limits for the period of study away and the maximum total limits for transfer of credit at Oberlin. Please see the policies regarding Transfer of Credit in this section of the catalog.
Deadline for Applications for Academic Leaves
For academic leaves for the full academic year, the fall semester or spring semester, students must apply by March 15 of the preceding academic year.
Personal Leave of Absence
Students who wish to pursue primarily non-academic activities away from Oberlin may apply for a Personal Leave of Absence through the Office of the Dean of Studies. A maximum of six semester hours per semester (or four semester hours for each quarter or trimester) may be transferred to Oberlin for work taken at other institutions during a personal leave. Completed applications for leaves beginning the following semester are due the first Friday in December and the first Friday in May. Requests for extensions of personal leaves must be received by the same deadlines. Applications received after these deadlines will be given consideration; however there is a late filing fee of $300. Information and forms are available at www.oberlin.edu/dstudies/leaves/ploa.html.
Students may also apply for a medical leave of absence but must have appropriate supporting documentation from a health care professional and prior approval from the Office of the Dean of Studies.
Medical Leave of Absence
Students who wish to take a leave from Oberlin for physical or psychological reasons may apply for a medical leave of absence through the Office of the Dean of Studies. A maximum of six credit hours per semester or four semester hours per quarter or trimester of leave may be transferred to Oberlin for coursework taken at other institutions during a medical leave. Students applying for a medical leave must provide appropriate supporting documentation from a healthcare professional. Students who submit applications by 4:30 p.m. on the Friday before the semester begins are eligible for a full refund of semester expenses.
Students may submit an application for medical leave at any time during a semester. From the first day of classes through the end of the tenth week of classes (November 14, 2010; April 24, 2011), the student who is granted a medical leave will be withdrawn from all courses, W’s will be recorded on his or her transcript, and he or she will be eligible to apply to return for the subsequent semester. For information on refund of tuition and fees, please see “Expenses” in this catalog. Students who submit applications for medical leaves effective for the current semester from the first day of the eleventh week to the last day of classes have two options. First, if the student wishes to complete coursework, he or she can apply for Incomplete grades. (Please see “Grading” in this catalog.) In this case, the student will receive grades for all courses. The medical leave will take effect at the end of the current semester, and the student will be on leave for the subsequent semester. Second, if the student elects not to complete coursework, he or she will be withdrawn from all courses and W’s will be recorded on his or her transcript. The medical leave will take effect immediately, and the student will be on leave for the subsequent semester. Records for students taking a medical leave after the tenth week may be reviewed by the appropriate Academic Standing Committee and may be subject to academic standing action. Students who are granted medical leaves after the first day of the tenth week of classes are not eligible for a refund.
An application for a medical leave received after 4:30 p.m. on the last day of classes will be processed for the subsequent semester; the transcript for the current semester will include the grades assigned by the faculty, and cannot be expunged or altered in any way. Information and forms are available at www.oberlin.edu/dstudies/leaves/mloa.html.
Withdrawal from the College
Students withdrawing permanently from Oberlin must apply through the Office of the Dean of Studies. Conservatory and double-degree students should first consult their principal advisors and the Associate Dean of the Conservatory. All students who receive financial aid from Oberlin College must consult with the Office of Financial Aid before withdrawing. Students who have withdrawn from Oberlin and seek readmission may not transfer credit for courses taken at other institutions while withdrawn. More information is available at www.oberlin.edu/dstudies/leaves.
Suspension and Dismissal
Students may be asked to leave Oberlin for academic or disciplinary reasons. Suspension is usually for a specified period of time and/or until specified conditions have been met. Dismissal is permanent. Additional information about academic standing statuses of probation, suspension and dismissal is available in the College Arts and Sciences and Conservatory of Music sections of this catalog. Also, please see the document Student Regulations, Policies, and Procedures at www.oberlin.edu/students/links-life/rules-regs.html.
Students who have been suspended and seek reinstatement may not transfer credit for courses taken at other institutions while suspended unless an appropriate office of Oberlin College (e.g. Dean of Studies or the Conservatory Associate Deans) had required or recommended that work be completed elsewhere.
In order to return to Oberlin, a student who has been withdrawn or suspended must submit a reinstatement form to the Office of the Registrar. Appropriate forms and materials must be received by August 1 for fall semester and by January 2 for spring semester. No exceptions are made. Relevant offices review the request for reinstatement and the student will be informed about the decision as quickly as possible. The entire reinstatement process is explained at www.oberlin.edu/regist.
A student in the Arts and Sciences who has been suspended must also complete an appeal process through the Office of the Dean of Studies. The deadlines for this process are stated in the student’s letter of suspension.
When Conservatory or double-degree students wish to return to the Conservatory of Music, the Associate Dean of the Conservatory reviews the academic record with representatives of the appropriate major departments. Students withdrawn for two or more consecutive semesters may be required to re-audition for reinstatement. Those withdrawn for more than four semesters must meet the graduation requirements for the major in effect at the time of their return to the Conservatory of Music.
Private Readings in the College of Arts and Sciences. Students who wish to pursue a topic not covered in the regular curriculum may register for a private reading. This one-to-one tutorial is normally at the advanced level in a specific field and is arranged with a member of the faculty who has agreed to supervise the student. Approval for a private reading course depends upon the following conditions:
- The student should have completed the basic courses offered by the department in which the work is to be done.
- The substance of the private reading course may not duplicate the work of a regular course unless the student is unable to enroll in a course he or she needs to meet the requirements of a major or course sequence.
- The student is limited to one private reading course per semester for no more than three hours of credit; exceptions must be approved by the Office of the Dean of Studies.
- Applied music lessons may not count as private reading courses.
Private Readings in the Conservatory. For students enrolled in Oberlin degree programs who wish to study individually and in-depth a topic not covered in the regular curriculum, the option of a one-to-one tutorial is available. This work is at an advanced level in a specific field and is coordinated with a member of the faculty who has agreed to supervise the study, and who possesses expertise in the area in which the private reading is being undertaken.
Approval for a private reading course depends on the following conditions:
- The student shall have completed the basic courses pertinent to the subject matter of the private reading. As a rule, only juniors and seniors are eligible to undertake private reading courses.
- The subject matter of the private reading course may not duplicate the work of a regular course.
- The student is limited to one private reading course per semester for no more than three credit hours.
- Private applied and composition study lessons, ensemble playing, other forms of musical performance, and work in elementary and intermediate aural skills may not count as a private reading course.
- Normally, the faculty supervisor for a private reading course should be a faculty member other than a student’s own applied or composition study teacher.
Approval for a private reading course must be given by the student’s advisor, the faculty member supervising the project, and the Conservatory’s Associate Dean for Student Academic Affairs.
Marching At Commencement
To be eligible to participate in Commencement:
- students must be registered at Oberlin for the final semester in residence;
- this registration must be for all remaining course requirements for the degree(s) sought; and
- all non-course requirements must also be completed by the end of classes in order to participate in Commencement.
Students who have permission to finish their work away from Oberlin may participate in Commencement exercises only after all requirements have been completed and the degree awarded. A student may participate in Commencement only one time.
Double-Degree students: A double-degree student completing the two degrees in different semesters may participate in Commencement exercises for the single degree (either B.A. or B.Mus) assuming all marching requirements for that degree are met. Double-degree students may return to participate in Commencement exercises as a double-degree student only after the requirements for the second degree have been met. Double-degree students who choose to participate in commencement a second time are responsible for all expenses related to the second commencement.
Finish Away Policies
College of Arts and Sciences (BA)
A student in the College of Arts and Sciences who lacks at the end of the spring semester a maximum of eight credit hours or at the end of the fall semester a maximum of four credit hours required for graduation may apply in the Office of the Registrar for permission to complete these hours away from Oberlin. The work may be done at another institution or through Oberlin courses on an Enrolled-Not-in-Residence (ENR) registration. Permission to complete more than four hours at the end of the fall semester or more than eight hours at the end of the spring semester away from Oberlin will be granted only after careful consideration of educational or personal reasons by the Office of the Dean of Studies.
In rare cases, a student who has spent at least six semesters in residence or on Oberlin programs and has completed a major, may request a waiver of the last semester-in-residence requirement with a program of up to 16 hours of off-campus study (either study at another institution or Enrolled-Not-In-Residence). Such a request must be justified by a clear educational rationale.
Conservatory of Music (BMus)
A student in the Conservatory of Music who lacks not more than six credit hours may request approval of Finish Away status from the Associate Dean for Student Academic Affairs in order to complete these hours at another institution; if any of these hours are requirements for the student’s major, the major department must also approve completion of requirements for Finish Away status. In a small number of cases, a student who has spent at least six semesters in residence or in Oberlin programs and who has completed a major may request a waiver of the last semester-in-residence requirement with a program of off-campus study, justified by clear educational purposes, for up to 15 hours, either Enrolled-Not-in-Residence, or at another institution.
Double-degree students (DD)
Normally double-degree students complete both degrees at the same time. However, under certain circumstances, a student may request permission to finish degree requirements off campus. The double-degree student who is considering completion of the BA degree away from campus after completion of the BMus should consult the finish away policies for students in the College of Arts and Sciences. The double-degree student who is considering completion of the BMus degree after completion of the BA degree should consult the finish away policies for the Conservatory.
This category generally applies to students who are participating in programs sponsored by individual departments of Oberlin College: the Danenberg Oberlin-in-London Program, the Oberlin-in-Italy Program, the Studies in Spain at the University of Córdoba Program (PRESCHO), and the Oberlin-in-Europe Program. Students wishing to participate in these programs apply directly to the appropriate academic department in consultation with their academic advisor (and in the case of double-degree and Conservatory students, the Conservatory Associate Dean). Once accepted to the program, students must file Enrolled-Not-in-Residence forms with the appropriate office. Credits earned in these programs are internal Oberlin credits and no transfer of credit is involved.
Under special circumstances, students may arrange for independent study in appropriate off-campus locations. This independent study status is limited to students who have completed two or more semesters at Oberlin. Such independent study is arranged with and overseen by Oberlin faculty members and is approved in advance by the Associate Dean of Studies for students in the College of Arts and Sciences and by the Conservatory Associate Dean for Conservatory students. This status is normally granted for less than full-time study. Students pay Oberlin College tuition for this work, which must be completed within a specified semester. Deadlines for application for the following semester are the first Friday in December for a spring program and the first Friday in May for a fall program. In both types of Enrolled-Not-in-Residence, students’ matriculation deposits will be refunded upon graduation. Students are responsible for notifying the appropriate offices of any change in plans and face forfeiture of their matriculation deposits if such notice is not given.